Sunday, November 17, 2013

Introduction to Freezer Cooking

So I am finally getting around to doing this freezer cooking blog, which I have been wanting to do for awhile now.  Instead of starting an all-new blog, I've just brought back my old one from the dead, and added a new tab for freezer recipes.

I apologize ahead of time for my horrible photos.  Most of these are done on my iPhone. I'm working on it. But I'm lucky if I even remember to take a photo of a meal :-)

Anyone who has spent any time with me in the past few months had to listen to me prattle on endlessly about freezer cooking, and probably knows how passionate I am about it. So now instead of having to listen to me drone on about it in person, you can just read my blog to get updates and share recipes!

Freezer cooking in a nutshell:
  • Buy foods in bulk or when it's on sale = Cost savings
  • Prepare and freeze multiple batches of one recipe = Time savings
  • Thaw and either bake or toss into the crockpot = Saves you time and lots of stress in the evenings!

I was first introduced to freezer cooking from a magazine article.  I committed to making a months' worth of dinners and seeing how it worked out. During that trial month, I was completely amazed at how much easier and less stressful it made evenings for me, and how much money it was saving our family. In addition, the fact that weekly grocery store trips were now fun and no longer the lowlight of my week.

I am a mom with a pretty busy evening schedule. Meal planning was my least-favorite chore. There were so many things I disliked about meal planning and cooking dinner. Here are my top ten:

  1. Difficulty finding dinner recipes that are easy, inexpensive, and well-liked by everyone.
  2. Making weekly shopping lists...and then inevitably forgetting to bring my shopping list to the store with me
  3. Trying to cram the shopping cart full of everything I needed for weekly meals.
  4. $$ The price of my weekly groceries..yikes! $$
  5. Upon getting home from the store, realizing that I forgot to get at least one neceeesary item on my list, and having to head back to the grocery store later in the week.
  6. Rushing home from dance class or a sports event and having to turn into what my husband calls the "kitchen tornado" in order to get dinner ready on time.
  7. When dinner is finally ready, trying to enjoy it with your family, but always looking over your shoulder and knowing that that huge pile of dishes you just dirtied while making the meal is waiting...
  8. Those nights when you JUST  DON'T FEEL LIKE COOKING, or you run out of time, and end up going out for an unhealthy (and expensive) meal at an Applebee's or Friendly's.
  9. Additionally then ending up throwing food out at the end of the week because it's gone bad before you had a chance to use it. I absolutely hate throwing food away.
  10. Not having time in the evenings to spend doing things I want and need to do with my husband and the kids; reading, writing, playing, LIVING!

Here are the positives that have come about since starting freezer cooking:

  1. We are saving a lot of money each week on groceries, and hardly anything gets thrown away.
  2. I do not have to turn into the "kitchen tornado" anymore, as all I have to do is either dump a bag into a crockpot or throw a pre-made casserole or dish in the oven. All that's left is to prepare a quick and healthy side.
  3. I have more time in the evenings to spend with my family.
  4. I don't need to fill my grocery cart to overflowing every week. I can focus on fresh, healthy foods since I don't have a mile-long list of ingredients to purchase for main dishes.
  5. Far less mess and dirty dishes to clean up after dinner.
I am not going to lie and say that all of the meals I've made are absolutely wonderful. Some of them were just  so-so, and a couple of them have turned out pretty bad. But I'm excited to tweak and work the recipes to make them better and more adaptable to freezing. And for the most part the meals have been really, really good! I am excited to share my successes (and failures) with you and hope my freezer cooking adventure can help some other busy folks out there who are tired and frustrated with being trapped in the kitchen and not feeling like you don't have the time to do the things you need and want to do in the evenings :-)

I also plan to post other quick and easy recipes that aren't necessarily specific to freezer cooking, and maybe some other recipes or ideas I come across that I think are worth sharing

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